A bankruptcy hearing into the operation of Platinum Gym was adjourned last month to allow the firm’s boss to pay rental debts, it has emerged.
Platinum Gym owner Mehran Ghanbari was given until April 8 - on his own request - to pay debts to his landlord.
The bankruptcy hearing is due to proceed this Friday.
Hundreds of people were left out of pocket by the abrupt closure of Platinum Gym and Cabelo Hair and Beauty salon on Friday.
Angry customers told the ‘Journal’ that Mr Ghanbari had been selling annual membership for as much as £200 in upfront cash payments until close of business on Thursday.
Mr Ghanbari has blamed the landlord for contributing to the closure of his business, claiming he and his partner had lost £1.5m. He said the landlord was “uncompromising”.
However Mark Patterson, of property management company O’Connor, Kennedy Turtle, said his client is to take legal action against Mr Ghanbari personally, as his name is on the lease.
“Since my client bought the property we’ve had a lot of difficulty getting him to honour the terms of his lease. He’s been given all kinds of assistance to keep the business going including rent reductions and rental holidays,” he said.
Angry gym members and staff arrived on Friday morning to find that the premises at Springtown Avenue had been cleared out overnight.
Some members claimed they received ‘cold calls’ from the gym seeking membership renewal money as late as Thursday night.
Sales assistant Alan Koylass, who was employed just last Monday, said: “One woman paid me £200 on Thursday to get membership as a present for her mother on Mother’s Day. I feel so guilty and embarrassed now. This is a disgrace.”
Around 20 shocked staff learned of the closure through a text message from their boss at around 7am on Friday morning.
They claim salary payments of at least £10,000 are outstanding.
The Journal has learned that Platinum Gym, under Mr Ghanbari, went bankrupt several years ago and has since traded under the name Ben Madigan Ltd. Cabelo Ltd, which was based at Carlisle Road, was also bankrupted a number of years ago.
It’s understood that Mr Ghanbari was also bankrupted personally, although the bankruptcy was discharged after 12 months